I Never Claimed To Be A Soccer Coach
I will start this story with the title, I never claimed to be a soccer coach, but my son wanted to play soccer. He was signed up, but there were not enough parents volunteering to coach, and I felt my hand rising, but not from my power. It was being pushed high into the air by my son. I believe he was about 11 years old at this time, his third or fourth year of playing soccer himself, but I had never coached before. So, I had involuntarily volunteered to coach a soccer team.
They proceeded to hand me a bunch of paperwork that I was not familiar with. Then they gave me a list of boys that made up ‘my’ team, then a bag of soccer balls and equipment along with uniforms for the boys. Then they handed me a whistle and wished me luck. Believe me, I needed all the luck I could muster.
As the season started, I scheduled practices on Tuesdays and Thursdays. We played our games on Sundays. As the season went on, to my surprise I never had one boy miss a practice or a game. This really surprised me because as we neared the end of the season, we had not won a single game and the boys continued to play whole heartedly. While some of the other coaches were complaining about some kids having a hard time showing up for practices and some even had quitters.
It came time for our last game of the season. The team we were playing was playing for a second-place position and we were in last place and had nothing to lose. The boys took to the field with a lot of enthusiasm, a lot more than you would expect from a last place team. They took the positions I had assigned to each of them.
The game started and as it progressed, we were losing. The coach on the other team was yelling at his boys, he kept saying they weren’t listening to him and he would sometimes get nasty mean with them. I was just trying to encourage my boys to play their positions and stay tough. When we reached half time we were losing, but not by as much as I thought it should be. And at half time the father of one of the boys on the other team took his son home. He said he was tired of the coach yelling at the boys the way he was and belittling.
During half time I took my boys aside and asked them how they would like to finish the game. They all said they wanted to play different positions. So, I let them make the changes they felt more comfortable with. My son had been a sweeper, he moved to goalie. The boy I had playing goalie moved to forward. And the other boys all moved to positions where they felt comfortable.
As the game commenced, the other team never scored another goal, and the boy (I wish I could remember names) that was goalie and moved to forward scored 3 goals and one other boy scored one goal. We won that one game and the way the boys came off of that field you would think they just won the world series of soccer instead of their first win of the season.
The coach of the other team came over to shake my hand and as he did, he asked me, “Of all teams, of all days and of all games for you to win, why did you have to win this one?”
I just answered with, “I didn’t beat you today, those boys out there beat you.”
And as I said at the beginning, I was not a soccer coach, and if I would have been smarter, I would have listened to the boys through the year when they told me where they wanted to play. Just goes to show you adults don’t always know everything. But the boys did all say they enjoyed their season more than any season they had played before. All wanted to play for me again the next year, but we ended up moving to another area before the next season.
Just goes to show you, we don’t have to always be winners to be happy. If you’re happy, you are already a winner.
Angel Guzman from Joliet, Illinois on November 30, 2020:
Wow, yeah you never know. You could have been undefeated. That was pretty cool your players never missed a practice or game. They loved it and had fun. I used to play baseball 4 years and I had my fun. Great story Greg.
Liz Westwood from UK on November 30, 2020:
This is a well written account of your experience. There are also a lot of meaningful points to be drawn from this article, which could be applied to life in general.